COLCHESTER United head coach John McGreal admits it is a “huge coup” to have Ben Stevenson on loan - and has likened the pass-master to former U’s hero Owen Garvan.

Stevenson will be up against his former side tonight when Coventry City - his boyhood club - head to the Weston Homes Community Stadium for a League Two clash (kick-off 7.45pm).

It promises to be a special occasion for the midfielder, who joined on loan on transfer deadline day - immediately after signing a two-and-a-half-year deal with Championship leaders Wolves.

“Ben could be gracing the Premier League with Wolves next year, if he continues to perform like he has been,” said McGreal.

“It’s a huge coup for us to have him, until the end of the season.

“He just plays off his first touch, very similar to Owen Garvan.

“He’s a ball-playing midfielder who gets the pass off early.

“We knew what we’ve got with him and he’s hit the floor running.

“The big test for him is to continue it but I’m sure he will because he has good League One and League Two experience, for such a young man.”

Meanwhile, McGreal has sung the praises of emerging star Courtney Senior.

The midfielder has put an injury-plagued spell behind him and managed another goal in Saturday’s 1-1 draw at Carlisle United.

It was his third of the season, having also notched in the recent draw at Port Vale and Colchester’s 5-1 thrashing of Forest Green Rovers in August.

“Courtney has stuck to what he knows best, taking people on, producing an end product and getting bums off seats,” said the U’s boss.

“That’s excellent for us.

“We’ve waited a long time for Courtney because he had that injury and a few little niggles in the early part of the season but now we’re hoping he’s got himself really right.

“He’s loving the environment and his training has been excellent again.

"We keep saying to our boys to keep playing with a smile on their face and that’s what he’s doing at the minute – everyone is enjoying what he’s doing.”